Obamacare May Survive

Here’s a remarkable admission from former Speaker of the House John Boehner: The ACA will not be repealed.

Former Speaker of the House John Boehner said Thursday that the idea that Congress would completely repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act was “happy talk” and “not going to happen.”

Boehner was speaking at a health care conference in Orlando, according to Politico.

“Republicans never ever agree on health care,” he said. …

…Boehner on Thursday was not optimistic that repeal and replace would occur. Instead, congressional Republicans are “going to fix Obamacare – I shouldn’t call it repeal and replace, because it’s not going to happen,” he said.

He concluded, according to Politico: “Most of the framework of the Affordable Care Act … that’s going to be there.”

Put another way, the Republicans screwed themselves on Obamacare. They really are the dog that caught the car.

Let’s review:

This is from the Washington Post, January 17

Trump said his plan for replacing most aspects of Obama’s health-care law is all but finished. Although he was coy about its details — “lower numbers, much lower deductibles” — he said he is ready to unveil it alongside Ryan and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.).

“It’s very much formulated down to the final strokes. We haven’t put it in quite yet but we’re going to be doing it soon,” Trump said. He noted that he is waiting for his nominee for secretary of health and human services, Rep. Tom Price (R-Ga.), to be confirmed. That decision rests with the Senate Finance Committee, which hasn’t scheduled a hearing.

This is from a CNBC story dated just one week ago:

President Donald Trump said Thursday that he hopes to submit health care reform as soon as early March, giving a timeline to a key promise that has hit some stumbles in the first weeks of his administration.

“We’re doing Obamacare, we’re in the final stages,” Trump told reporters at the White House. “So, we will be submitting sometime in early March, mid-March.”

However, yesterday CNBC reported that Tom Price said there will be no bill coming from the White House.

Health Secretary Tom Price has told House Republicans “the administration wouldn’t be sending us a bill” after all, said Rep. Tom Cole of Oklahoma. Instead, Cole added, the White House “will cooperate and provide input into what we do.”

He didn’t have a plan; nobody in the White House was even working on a plan; he probably still has no clue what a plan might look like.

Why am I not surprised?

The first executive order the so-called president signed was a direction to repeal Obamacare.

The one-page order, which Mr. Trump signed in a hastily arranged Oval Office ceremony shortly before departing for the inaugural balls, gave no specifics about which aspects of the law it was targeting. But its broad language gave federal agencies wide latitude to change, delay or waive provisions of the law that they deemed overly costly for insurers, drug makers, doctors, patients or states, suggesting that it could have wide-ranging impact, and essentially allowing the dismantling of the law to begin even before Congress moves to repeal it.

The order states what Mr. Trump made clear during his campaign: that it is his administration’s policy to seek the “prompt repeal” of the law, which has come to be known as Obamacare. But he and Republicans on Capitol Hill have not yet devised a replacement, making such action unlikely in the immediate term.

“In the meantime,” the order said, “pending such repeal, it is imperative for the executive branch to ensure that the law is being efficiently implemented, take all actions consistent with law to minimize the unwarranted economic and regulatory burdens of the act, and prepare to afford the states more flexibility and control to create a more free and open health care market.”

The order has symbolic as well as substantive significance, allowing Mr. Trump to claim he acted immediately to do away with a health care law he has repeatedly called disastrous, even while it remains in place and he navigates the politically perilous process of repealing and replacing it.

So far, I understand the IRS says it will not be all that vigorous about punishing people for not buying insurance, but that’s about all I’ve heard. There was all kinds of consternation at the time about what this order might mean, but so far it hasn’t meant much of anything.

So the White House isn’t going to do anything, and Congress is stymied, because if Republicans do what they want to do it would cut millions of people off from access to health care. And they are not so stupid — most of ’em, anyway — that they don’t dimly understand that, and realize it could come back to bite them.

See also “The Republican Congress Is Courting a Major Crisis” by Brian Beutler and “What’s Next For The Affordable Care Act? Your Questions Answered” at NPR.

3 thoughts on “Obamacare May Survive

  1. “…happy talk…”

    Next time you start think that maybe coservatives aren’t amoral monsters, remember that they consider debating/discussing whether or not to cut millions of people off of health care insurance, to be “happy talk.”

    ‘Trump said his plan for replacing most aspects of Obama’s health-care law is all but finished. Although he was coy about its details — “lower numbers, much lower deductibles” — he said he is ready to unveil it alongside Ryan and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.).’

    Ah yes, all but finished…
    Just another month’s worth of Ex-Lax and high-fiber foods (that t-RUMPLE-Thin-Skin hates), and his replacement will come bursting forth, in a stinky brown froth.

    And now, a short one-act play about this issue:

    “Myreka! I’ve got it!”
    ‘That’s EUREKA, President t-RUMP. And what have you got, Sir?’
    “No, asswipe, it’s MYREKA! When you little people have an idea, it’s a YOUR-eka moment. But I thought of it! It’s my solution MYREKA!!! GET it?!?!
    ‘Got it;’
    ‘Your solution to what, Sir?’
    ‘”To Oobamacare, you little onion!”
    ‘That’s minion, Sir.’
    “Ok, we’ll compromise, you’re MYnion! So, there…”
    ‘Where did you get the idea, Sir?’
    “From my favorite philosopher: Otto MyAzz!”
    ‘Ah, I should have known, Sir. That’s where you get all of your (stupid) ideas from.’
    “Wait until I tell that little bitch Mitch-Ronald McDonald and Poor Rand!”
    ‘Uh… I think you mean Mitch McConnell and Paul Ryan, Sir.’
    “Yeah, them too, I guess. Now, bring Ivanka, put her on my lap, and I’ll explain it all to her. And you, MYnion.”

  2. Ok, n0w this, THIS, move, is dangerous, and speaks volumes:
    “Trump White House Bars News Organizations From Press Briefing.”

    You block CNN and the NY Times – among others – from doing their jobs telling the public?

    This is as ugly!
    This is Fascistic!!
    And I hope the blow-back will be devasating – which is what it should be!!!

    You don’t want to govern in the open, because you’d rather rule with no one over-seeing your actions?
    Fat fucking chance, you impudent little festering pustule on the anus of representative democracy!

    t-RUMPLE-Thin-Skin has just fired the first volley in a losing battle.

    Now, CNN, the NYT’s, and other news agencies know that they are mediums-non-grata.
    Which means, they can print anything they want or feel the need to – while still adhering to their journalistic principles.

    “Danger, Will Robinson! DANGER!!!”

  3. Health Care is the more immediate story than WH censorship, because loss of health care will have a direct impact on so many in a year or less. People will live or die based on the decisions of people who are frightened about their political futures. The outlook of all prospective outcomes are grim.

    Republicans can not ‘repeal’ Obamacare without 8 democrats defecting in the Senate. What they CAN do through a budgetary process called reconciliation is defund Obamacare. In theory they might be able to fix Obamacare through reconciliation by increasing Medicaid, but that’s not likely.

    A key point is that major features of Obamacare WILL remain. Coverage will have to cover certain minimum standards and the ‘junk’ policies which Obamacare prohibited won’t return. Covering pre-existing conditions will remain. The mandate HAS been repealed by the declaration that it won’t be enforced.

    Healthy people will leave the ‘pool’ of insured. The subsidies will go away and more people will leave. The combination will be the fatal wound – as millions drop insurance. It’s not going to be only the 20 million we added with Obamacare that will drop insurance. People who had insurance before Obamacare won’t be able to afford coverage as premiums skyrocket. (Remember – some of the most expensive provisions of Obamacare won’t be repealed though subsidies will go.) This may be the death knell for the medical insurance industry – at some point we enter a death spiral – costs go up as there’s a higher concentration of sick people in the pool, and more people leave the pool, which drives up premiums more. Eventually, the only people who can afford insurance are people so rich they don’t need insurance.

    All republicans have to do is nothing. With the mandate gone, the wheels will come off Obamacare. The Heritage Foundation and Freedom Caucus and Paul Ryan won’t let subsidies and Medicaid coverage continue – and the majority of republican congress-critters who don’t know what to do will be driven by groups with absolute certainty about what to do.

    A gyrocopter can safely land with no power – I’ve done it. There’s no hope however if the main blades stop spinning. We’re about to see the main bearings seize in health care and people who are thinking that they will measure the loss in the difference between the present enrollment – and the ‘before Obamacare’ enrollment have failed to consider that the whole system is about to become unsustainable.

    Afterword: I know Boehner made comments to the effect that Obamacare would continue and be renamed. I also know Boehner is a registered lobbyist as of the first day he was legally eligible to become a lobbyist. So, before you consider what he says, find out what special interest group is paying him. My guess is that the insurance industry has run some projections of the impact of different scenarios and realized the medical insurance industry itself is an endangered species.

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